And we’re pretty happy about it! When we bought our 1950’s house 5 years ago, it had an extension on the back that was added in the 80’s by the previous owners. The extension had a huge amount of glass windows and doors facing north and no eaves. It made a fantastic greenhouse, but not a very comfortable space to be in, except during the day in the winter months. It also leaked in the rain, had no insulation, and the floor was essentially a deck, with large gaps between the boards. The stairs leading down to the garden were becoming really unsafe, and underneath the house was a tiny laundry you couldn’t really stand up straight in.
So we’ve been dreaming for years about rebuilding this area – and it’s started with the back of the house being dismantled!
We took apart the back of the house with much care, so as many materials as possible could be reused or recycled. It didn’t literally fall off – but it sure looks like it did!
In the new build we’ll be reusing the flooring, joists and bearers from the original extension. The metal and concrete from the area was taken to local recyclers. We were really pleased to only have a small amount of material that had to go to the local tip. We did have some asbestos though, which had to be carefully and painstakingly removed, sealed up and taken to a special waste facility, at the cost of $350 for a ute load.
To help us design the rebuild we’ve engaged local architect Morgen Figgis from Barnacle Studios. With his creativity and passion for sustainability, Morgen has helped us come up with a plan that we just love. The biggest changes will be moving the kitchen and our main living area to the new northern space, creating an outdoor deck and having a proper height laundry and storage areas underneath. We’ll feel so much more connected to the garden and the magical Illawarra escarpment in our new space!
Eco-friendly features of the new extension will include:
- Solar passive design
- Reverse block veneer construction
- Low-e glazed windows
- Use of recycled materials
- Use of local sustainably hardwood timber and FSC certified timber
- Natural sealers and paints
- Water tanks connected to the new and old house
Let the next chapter in our adventure in urban sustainability begin!